DNCB Outing No. 2019-44 to Tsawwassen Ferry terminal & Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Twenty-one DNCBers finally enjoyed a sunny day in Delta and had a very productive outing, first to the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal, then our “Mecca” Reifel Bird Sanctuary.  Check out the photo evidence of our bird, mushroom, plant and people sightings on our DNCB Flickr site.

Some left Petra’s at 7:30 am and met others along the way at the Ferry terminal, in the Ladner fields, or at the entrance to Reifel around 9:15 am.  The resident Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, Harlequin Ducks and both Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants were all at the terminal along with a Red-necked Grebe, Surf Scoters and other migrant duck species.  We stopped on 34B in the Ladner fields to watch 5 Western Meadowlarks, which turned out to be 14 birds when they rose from the wheat stubble.

When we arrived at Reifel, the chatfest began as we introduced the two Newbie “professionals” CWS Andrew H and Birds Canada (formerly BSC) Graham S.  We love it when young birders, with 20/20 vision and good hearing, join us oldies.  Three Sandhill Cranes and the Black-crowned Night-Heron were at the entrance too, and Anna’s Hummingbirds at the feeder.  David took the mandatory Group Photo at the Reifel Snow Goose interpretive sign.


DNCB at Reifel – photo by David Hoar

We followed the East Dyke Trail and had tonnes of neat sightings.  Two Peregrine Falcons were seen several times, likely hunting the many small birds we saw, such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creeper, four Sparrow species, three Finch species (Purple, House and American Goldfinch), lots of Cedar Waxwing, and other common species.  Cackling Geese were among the Canada Geese in the potato field.  David recorded 63 species on his eBird lists for the day (see below).

At the northwest corner, sharp-eyed Graham found a Northern Saw-whet Owl, interestingly with his next breakfast, a large mouse (or rat) hanging beside him on his perch.


Northern Saw-whet Owl – photo by Roger M

Lots of noisy Chickadees around the Saw-whet, but they took frequent time-outs to eat seeds from our outstretched hands.  Red-winged Blackbirds, Rock Pigeons and even a Red-breasted Nuthatch were not shy and ate from our hands too.

At the Tower, we took the West or Seaward Dyke trail.  We couldn’t rouse the Virginia Rails, but among the waterfowl in the pond we found our second Bird of the Day (Saw-whet was first), two Ruddy Ducks.  They were among the many newly-arrived wintering species in these outer ponds, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, beautiful sleek Gadwall, Mallards and American Wigeon.  We eventually found an Eurasian Wigeon among the thousands of waterfowl.

The flock of Long-billed Dowitchers were in the next pond.  Hiding among them were a few Dunlin.  We also saw a Greater Yellowlegs.  We heard several gun shots, and thousands of Lesser Snow Geese were flying overhead.  Must be a good year for this species as a Hunter told me the day’s limit was 10 birds.

We moved inland along the Cross Dyke trail to the Auger Trail.  A perched Merlin excited our photogs, then a Peregrine whizzed by again.  In these inner Display ponds we found several Ring-necked Ducks, gorgeous Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks, Greater Scaup, Pied-billed Grebes, and the Belted Kingfisher.  Already past Noon, we decided to head to the exit and then lunch at our regular spot, Speed’s Pub in Ladner.

Only nine for lunch, and I couldn’t pass up their Special of Cod Fish & Chips with two pints of Speed’s Lager; cheap and delicious, served by the beautifully-jewelled Calli. Home in time for the movies with Sandra, AB and neighbour Dar: saw Judy with Renee Zellweger.  Another awesome DNCB day.

The 21 were: Terry the Organizer, Roger the Driver, David the eBirder & Driver, Glen the Mushroom Guy, Guru Anne, our Historian Mike B, Newbie “Pro’s” Graham S & Andrew H, VanCity Lidia, North Delta Liz, Burnaby’s unforgettable Marion, returnee Vancouverite Janet H, Roger Two, Ladner Pam, Photog Richmond Brian, our South Surrey Bro’s Wazza & Colin, time challenged Debbi H, PB Lorna, our Moneyman Jim K and me.

Next Tuesday, October 29 is our day-long, semi-annual outing to Whidbey Island, USA.  Terry asked me to post these instructions:
• We will leave Petra’s at 7am, and carpool from Peace Arch parking lot at 7:30.
• We will take the 10:15 ferry from Keystone to Port Townsend as foot passengers.  There is more info in these reports of our previous trips to Whidbey Island.

Also this Thursday, October 24, we will be examining and cleaning our Swallow and Barn Owl boxes at Kings Links Golf Course, with some Delta NatureKids.

For more info on our outings, events, and other reports and photos, visit our website.  As always, your comments are encouraged, and let me know if these lengthy missives of verbal diarrhea annoy you and you want off my email list.  Cheers: Tom

Tom Bearss, President, Delta Naturalists Society

David’s eBird Lists
Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal Jetty
13 species (+3 other taxa)
Mallard 85
Greater/Lesser Scaup 1
Harlequin Duck 1
Surf Scoter X Lots offshore
Horned Grebe 1
Red-necked Grebe 1
Black Oystercatcher 21
Black Turnstone 6
peep sp. X Murmuration distant
Glaucous-winged Gull 4
gull sp. 12
Common Loon 1
Pelagic Cormorant 1
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 5
European Starling 500

Delta-Deltaport Way
10 species
Snow Goose 2500 2000 estimated
Great Blue Heron 3
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Flicker 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
European Starling 15
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 2

Ladner Fields
1 species
Western Meadowlark 14

Reifel Bird Sanctuary
Checklist Comments: I reviewed dowitcher photos to get positive ID on long and short looking at body profile or supercillium and duck photos to confirm 2 Eurasian Wigeon
52 species (+2 other taxa)

Snow Goose 5000 Estimated
Cackling Goose 85
Canada Goose 35
Wood Duck 4
Northern Shoveler 26
Gadwall 11
Eurasian Wigeon 3
American Wigeon X Hundreds
Mallard X Hundreds
Northern Pintail 13
Green-winged Teal X Dozens
Ring-necked Duck 6
Greater Scaup 3
Hooded Merganser 4
Ruddy Duck 2
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 15
Anna’s Hummingbird 3
American Coot 4
Sandhill Crane 3
Dunlin 6
Long-billed Dowitcher 35 confirmed from photos of group of 244
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher 236
Greater Yellowlegs 1
gull sp. 1
Great Blue Heron 29
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 2
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Northern Flicker 2
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 3
Steller’s Jay 1
Northwestern Crow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 16 Dozens following and in pockets
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Brown Creeper 1
Marsh Wren 1
European Starling 10
American Robin 17
Cedar Waxwing 12
House Sparrow 2
House Finch 5
Purple Finch 3
Dark-eyed Junco 11
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 5
Spotted Towhee 5
Red-winged Blackbird 21
Yellow-rumped Warbler 7

TOTAL Species for 2019-44:  63


About dncb

DNS: Delta Naturalists are a group of nature lovers whose aim is to foster interest in the natural history of the Fraser delta by sharing and enjoying nature and promoting environmental awareness and conservation. DNCB: Delta Nats Casual Birders is a group of Casual Birders who go Birding at different locations each week, usually within the Lower Mainland or in nearby Washington State.
This entry was posted in *DNCB, Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Brown Creeper, Cackling Geese, Dunlin, Eurasian Wigeon, Harlequin Duck, Hooded Merganser, Lesser Snow Goose, Long-billed Dowitcher, Merlin, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Pelagic Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Finch, Red-necked Grebe, Reifel, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Sandhill Crane, Tsawwassen Ferry Port, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-rumped Warbler. Bookmark the permalink.

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